As the situation in North Korea seems to be intensifying and Kim Jong Il shows no signs of stopping his country’s military program, the United Nations needs to pass stronger resolutions. Following a supposed nuclear test May 25, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions in an attempt to stop North Korea from proliferating weapons.
According to the U.N.’s resolution, the U.S. and other navies are allowed to track North Korean ships suspected of transporting weapon materials, but must request permission to inspect the cargo. They cannot force their way onto the ship.
This weak resolution is about to be put to the test. An anonymous military source told FOX News that the USS John McCain is monitoring a North Korean vessel that may be attempting to export weapon materials in violation of U.N. sanctions. On Sunday, the South Korean news network YTN reported that the North Korean ship, the Kang Nam, may be heading for Myanmar.
If the Navy asks permission to board the vessel, it is unlikely to receive it, which will leave the U.S. with few options. To stop weapons from being transported to already unstable regions, America would have to violate U.N. protocol.
President Barack Obama told CBS on Friday that the sanctions showed “unity in the international community.” He also said that the U.S. would not forcibly board ships suspected of carrying contraband.
It is good that the world is taking a unified stance against North Korea’s aggressive behavior, but the U.N. must pass sanctions with more teeth.
The USS John McCain may have to let the Kang Nam go before more resolutions can be passed. The military source told FOX News that, “permission has not been requested. Nor is it clear it will be. This is a very delicate situation and no one is interested in precipitating a confrontation.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain said Sunday on Face the Nation that the U.S. Navy should force its way onto the Kang Nam without permission if evidence shows that its cargo is in violation of U.N. sanctions.
“I think we should board,” he said. “It’s going to contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to rogue nations that pose a direct threat to the United States.”
As they continue to develop their military technology, North Korea threatens to destabilize the entire region. On Tuesday, the U.S. government confirmed reports that North Korea successfully tested a several kiloton bomb May 25.
The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that “North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of Punggye.”
The nuclear tests followed a scare in April, when North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile in the direction of Japan, in violation of U.N. sanctions against launching ballistic projectiles.
North Korea’s next action may be to launch a long-range missile toward Hawaii between July 4 and 8, reported the Daily Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper.
The Taepodong-2 missile has a range of 4,000 miles, which is not far enough to reach Hawaii, as the islands are 4,500 miles from North Korea. However, the U.S. has taken the threat seriously enough to order a new anti-missile system for the westernmost state, the Associated Press reported.
It is clear that Kim’s regime is not taking the U.N. sanctions seriously. After they were passed, North Korea announced that it still planned to enrich uranium and use plutonium in nuclear weapons. Obama does not want the U.S. to act on its own, but America may be forced into retaliation if the U.N. does not provide a stronger response to threats from this aggressive country.
Michael Hardcastle is a sophomore majoring in mass communications and creative writing.